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Stelton v. Stelton

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

September 9, 2013

VIRGIL VAN STELTON, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
JERRY VAN STELTON, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE FOURTH AMENDED COMPLAINT

LEONARD T. STRAND UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

Plaintiffs have filed a motion (Doc. No. 113) for leave to file a fourth amended complaint. The defendants have filed resistances (Doc Nos. 122, 123, 124 and 126). Having reviewed the parties’ filings, I conclude that oral argument is not necessary. See Local Rule 7(c). For the reasons explained below, the motion will be denied.

BACKGROUND

Judge Bennett’s order (Doc. No. 105) regarding the defendants’ motions to dismiss contains a detailed recitation of the relevant factual and procedural background. Here, I will provide background information only to the extent relevant for consideration of the pending motion.

Plaintiffs filed this case on May 11, 2011. Their original complaint (Doc. No. 1) was filed pro se and included the following counts: (a) a claim by all plaintiffs for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, (b) claims by plaintiff Virgil Van Stelton for false arrest, malicious prosecution and loss of consortium, (c) claims by Virgil Van Stelton and Alvin Van Stelton for intentional infliction of emotional distress, slander and “Interference with Right to Petition for Redress of Grievances.” Plaintiffs sought, and obtained, an extension of their deadline for serving the summons and complaint. They then filed an amended complaint (Doc. No. 6) on January 6, 2012. The amended complaint was similar to the original but added plaintiff Carol Van Stelton as a claimant with regard to the claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress, loss of consortium and slander (renamed to “Slander and Libel”). The named defendants filed answers (Doc. Nos. 8, 9 and 14) and the parties then submitted a proposed scheduling order and discovery plan, which was approved and entered (Doc. No. 19) on March 12, 2012. Trial was scheduled to begin June 3, 2013 (Doc. No. 20).

In response to a motion by plaintiffs (Doc. No. 25) to extend deadlines, a scheduling conference was scheduled for July 30, 2012. Before the conference, two attorneys filed appearances (Doc. Nos. 27, 28) for plaintiffs. Based on statements of counsel during that conference, I entered a new scheduling order and discovery plan (Doc. No. 32) that, among other things, established October 1, 2012, as the deadline for adding parties and amending pleadings. Because of the new scheduling order, trial was rescheduled for September 23, 2013 (Doc. No. 33).

Plaintiffs, now acting through counsel, filed a motion (Doc. No. 41) for leave to file a second amended complaint on October 1, 2012. I granted that motion on November 9, 2012. The second amended complaint significantly expanded on the factual allegations contained in the prior complaints and added a new party (the City of Sibley, Iowa). The new complaint contained the following causes of action, with each count having a unique combination of plaintiffs and defendants:

1. Depravation of certain constitutional rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983
2. Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act
3. False arrest
4. Malicious prosecution
5. Slander and libel
6. Tortious interference with prospective ...

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